Ingebrigtsen’s race against the clock in Oslo

Ingebrigtsen’s race against the clock in Oslo
European Athletics

Jakob Ingebrigtsen will be looking to improve on his 3:58.07 lifetime best in the mile at the Bislett Games in Oslo

When thoughts turn to Oslo, the words ‘Dream Mile’ are not far behind as they conjure so many magical moments in track and field history, including the world records of Steve Ovett in 1980 and Steve Cram in 1985.

But on Thursday night at the Bislett Stadium, one of the sport’s most iconic venues will witness something different as the men line up for the big race at 8.30pm.

This year the Dream Mile is an U20 race yet one in which a 16-year-old will be under the spotlight as much as any athlete at this IAAF Diamond League meeting.

How the noise level of the home fans will rise when the name Jakob Ingebrigtsen is announced to the crowd because they know they have a superstar of their own breeding in the making.

The teenager has already had a landmark season in the Diamond League after his brilliant 3:58.07 mile in Eugene last month, becoming the youngest athlete to break four minutes for the distance.

Now he wants more and what a place to attempt it – the Bislett Games.

“I’ve been doing very well lately and I can run maybe even faster,” said Ingebrigsten ahead of the race.

“I know the pressure a bit, because I have the opportunity to win. You notice that there is something special about the Norwegian audience, so there will be extra nerves before start.”

It is all part of the learning process for an athlete who really is taking in his stride all the challenges he faces and will be looking to claim the 1500m title at the European Athletics U20 Championships in Grosseto next month.

His older brother Filip, the reigning European champion, will compete in the 1500m at the conclusion of the programme while there will be plenty of interest in the 400m hurdles as Karsten Warholm makes his season’s debut less than a week after setting a national record of 44.87 on the flat. 

The men’s discus should be fascinating, with so many pointers towards the World Championships in London where Poland’s Piotr Malachowski will be defending his title.

Tomorrow night, he faces the Harting brothers from Germany - Robert, the three-times world champion and 2012 Olympic champion and Christoph, who won Olympic gold in Rio last summer - but the man to beat is Lithuania’s Andrius Gudzius, who leads the European rankings with 68.61m.

Another defending world champion Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands, who is 25 tomorrow, will look to lower her season’s best in the 200m of 22.29 while in the men’s 400m, there will be a good test for Pavel Maslak as he returns to his favoured distance after his national 200m record at the Czech Championships last weekend.

With a season’s best of 45.42, he faces Botswana’s Baboloki Thebe, who has already broken the 45-second barrier this year, and the Borlee twins Kevin and Jonathan. 

Ukraine’s Bogdan Bondarenko was the world champion in Moscow 2013 before winning silver in Beijing and then Olympic bronze Rio. He will want that top-of-the-podium spot again in London in August and here he faces the two men who beat him in Brazil: Canada’s Derek Drouin and Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim.

In the women’s discus, Olympic and European discus champion Sandra Perkovic from Croatia will aim to increase her world-lead in the Diamond Race as she looks to win the event for the sixth season in a row.